Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Liza Martinez’


Deaf Voices Raised Using Talking Hands and Whistles_Long Live FSL!

November 7, 2012

The Fight is On for FSL!!!

Assembly Point – Philcoa

Rommel Agravante [my FSL 3 teacher] and Rack Corpuz – Some of Deaf Frontliners

Dr. Liza Martinez in Fighting Mood

To shout Deaf Filipinos’ demand for the recognition of Filipino Sign Language [FSL] as their national sign language, members of different Deaf organizations assembled in Philcoa, Diliman, Quezon City. Led by staunch Deaf advocate Dr. Liza Martinez of Philippine Deaf Resource Center, PFD President Rey Lee, Weng Rivera of the Filipino Deaf Health and Crisis Center, and several other Deaf leaders and their group members, they assembled at 8.30 am and finally started moving towards Batasang Pambansa at 9 am.

Philippine Federation of the Deaf President Rey Lee with a Letter from Congress. Rey was my FSL Level 1 teacher

I joined the DLS-CSB SDEAS Filipino Sign Language Learning Program group led by my FSL Level 2 Deaf teacher Ana Salazar.

With FSLLP Group

Ana Salazar, third from right

Every now and then, you could hear the whistles blaring loud; their fists up; and their spirits visibly uplifted. We made a stopover at the Commission of Human Rights; Deaf leaders met with the focal person for PWDs while we waited on the open ground.

On to the Commission on Human Rights

Waiting at CHR Ground

From there, the walk continued until about noontime; I saw members of Alliance of Concerned Teacher’s Party List led by Cong. Antonio Tinio. Several other Deaf persons joined the group at Batasang Pambansa area… That’s where I met Dennis and Jennifer; Mackie and Febe. Anyhow, I wasn’t able to join the afternoon event. I didn’t witness the more important “action”  – the presentation of Deaf’s demand to the House of Congress for FSL’s recognition. I had some other activity in the afternoon.

Weng Rivera Explains What to Do Next

Moments Before Proceeding to House of Congress; Congressman Tinio-solon Who Proposed HB6079 in barong

However, after they left, I sat awhile to rest. A policeman approached and asked me about the rally. He told me he was happy to learn about the rally’s cause and admitted that it was his first time to be aware of FSL and ASL/SEE issue. That’s one concrete outcome of “shouting” together loudly as one — using whistles and talking hands. The campaign shouldn’t stop until Deaf’s legitimate demands are met. I’ll be editing the video of the walk from Philcoa to where I got to talk with the policeman. Will post later.

By the way, all my FSL teachers are in the docu Silent Odyssey, sked to be reshown this Saturday, November 10 [9.30 to 12nn] , Monday Nov 12 and Wednesday Nov 14 [12nn-3pm] at DLS-CSB  PEN Lab.

To understand more the current issue, please read the following:






For more report on the event by deaf-e-news, click hundreds-march-to-congress-to-support fsl


PWDs Invisible Even to Human RIghts Advocates

April 6, 2012

CAN one marginalized group be more marginalized than the others?

Yes, say persons with disabilities (PWDs) who live with this assumption every day. Indeed, a report by the Coalition on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PhilCoalitionCRPD) says that among vulnerable groups—women, youth, gays and lesbians, and indigenous peoples—PWDs get the least attention from government and sadly, even from human rights campaigners.

“Throughout the years, persons with disabilities have remained largely invisible because of discrimination,” said PhilCoalitionCRPD in its report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The document is part of the joint civil society report submitted for the UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) conducted every four years to look at the human rights situations of the U.N. member countries. The Philippines will undergo its review in May.

“Unfortunately, there was no discussion on persons with disabilities in the Philippines’ state report for the UPR in 2008,” Dr. Liza Martinez, director of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center and a member of the PhilCoalition CPRD said in a recent briefing held in Makati City in preparation for the UPR.

To Read the full report by Carlo Figueroa, please click:


Breaking the Silence, Hearing the Deaf

February 14, 2012

ANC TALKBACK with TINA MONZON-PALMA is an interactive current affairs program tackling political and social issues. It airs every Monday 7:00-8:00pm on the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Last February 6, 2012, guests Rep. Teddy Casino, Author, Sign Language Inset For News Programs Act; Dr. Liza Martinez, Founder/Director, Philippine Deaf Resource Center; Nicky Templo-Perez, Dean, De La Salle College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies; and Mackie Calbay, Representative of the Deaf Community discussed Deaf Rights. Interpreters were Ms. Febe Sevilla and Ms. Therese Bustos. [anc-talkback-breaking-silence-hearing.html


Inter-Agency Network of Women with Disabilities Honored Women Leaders

March 29, 2011

Congratulations Weng and Dr. Liza!!!

Last March25, 2011, the Inter-Agency Network of Women with Disabilities recently honored them  at SM City North Edsa.

Rowena “Weng” Rivera is uncontestably one of the ablest, and most active member of the Filipino Deaf Women’s Health and Crisis Center.

Rowena "Weng" Rivera (second from left) Receives Award of Recognition

Dr. Liza Martinez on the other hand is the most respected person and one of the staunch Deaf advocates looked up to by members of the Deaf community.

(For more photos, click congratulations-to-our-women-leaders.html)


SO’s Last Quarter Trail

November 30, 2009

Deaf Awareness Week is usually celebrated annually every November but this year it wasn’t that much felt because we were informed that the Department of Education has not issued a memo regarding the holding of celebrations. The reason probably why CSB Auditorium was fully packed especially on the last day of their week-long 15th year celebration. With or without a directive from DepEd, DAW has become an annual occasion most awaited for by the Deaf community. It must be noted however that DAW is an event being prepared by the hearing organizers. SDEAS DAW celebrations is something being initiated, manned, and organized by Deaf leaders themselves.

Nevertheless, the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) led by its president Rack Corpuz managed to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week by holding a showing of Silent O in Baguio City last November 19. Julius Andrada, first PFD president assisted Rack in facilitating the event.

(Below)  Q & A after the screening. PFD President Rack Corpuz answered many questions mostly relating to sign language issues affecting the sector

As always, reactions were raised because of the real issues tackled in the film: Filipino Sign Language, oralism and importance of sign language to Deaf people as explained by World Federation of the Deaf President Markku Jokinen, and the fact that sign language is an index to their identity as a cultural linguistic minority group.

Five days later, on the 24th of November, Silent O was shown for the benefit of Support and Empower Abused Deaf Children (SEADC). Its showing at UP Manila in the fully-packed viewing room elicited good reactions from the hearing UP-Camp students, despite the fact that they may

Q & A after SO showing, UP Manila

not handle any Deaf in their career. At least they must have realized how important sign language is to Deaf people and that forcing them to speak may not really help them to fully realize their capacities. It can never be doubted that sign language is the “language of the Deaf” and forcing them to speak and listen may hinder their full growth as Deaf persons should they try to adapt themselves to the hearing world. One student says she found the film enlightening. As pathologists, learning the cultural viewpoint of deafness might have given them a better understanding of Deaf’s unique world with its own language and culture. As they are being taught to correct, improve, probably address speech problems and defects, acceptance of the equality of sign language with spoken language must have been something they found very new, if not, surprising.

What I am happy about was the presence in the showing of sign linguist Dr. Liza Martinez, the most revered and respected hearing person by the Deaf community and considered to be the strongest voice and advocate on the use and recognition of Filipino Sign Language (FSL) in the country. Her positive reaction to the film was encouraging, and to me akin to an “imprimatur” as she pronounced before the UP Speech Pathology students her “verdict” on SO which she finally saw for the first time:

The film is a very significant contribution to information and to advocacy…I never thought I would see in my lifetime an interest in documentary by filmmakers who actually worked with the Deaf…I think when you walk out of here, you will remember this film and you will remember all the sentiments, the attitudes which were presented in it. Take home a sense of history, I think it is very strong in the film; a sense of diversity of the Deaf community; and continuing vision on things which are still to be done…I hope that you enjoyed, and learned, and most of all—you have taken it into your hearts what you have seen tonight.

(Front row) Dr. Liza Martinez in long sleeved-blue, printed blouse before the Q&A portion

I actually wanted Dr. Martinez being a sign language expert to be among the first to watch and comment on the film before any public viewing but because of her poor health then, she was unable to do so. I also wanted her to be in the film, either as a primary source of information or a consultant, unfortunately she declined for some personal reasons. It must have been a blessing afterall because with Dr. Liza in SO, people still advocating for ASL or SEE may prejudge SO as Dr. Liza’s vehicle to advocate for FSL. The fact that whatever you see in SO were all part of my real odyssey, products of my own research and own experiences largely earned while learning FSL and direct mingling with the Deaf and hearing persons who worked and continue to work for the welfare of the Deaf, others can say anything—good or bad—about it. So far, good and encouraging remarks, more than bad reactions came from Deaf and hearing audience. But SO should simply be taken as a hearing person’s journey into Deaf Filipinos’ world anyway. SO was just my means, my own vehicle to share what I saw on my way to the innerworld of the Deaf. SO is—as I have trying to aim at—a bridge that would connect us, hearing people to the Deaf. Later, I will post my treatise on the issue of “exclusion” or being “left behind” in my films as I walk my way to whatever destination I am led to.

Going a little more back in time, SO’s showing in Taguig City last October during the Cinemanila International Film Festival maybe considered a failure somewhat, but not completely so, if the measure would be based alone on the number of dozen people who came to watch it. It is because the 100% positive and favorite reactions that the film got from them quite offset it. An American viewer commended it to such an extent that he even offered to pay for its fee, if I would be willing, to enter it in a California fest in the US. The success was also due to the presence and full support of Deaf leaders, comprising the newly-formed fellowship organization of 7 Deaf groups called Deaf Pinoy Kaleidescope, and Ana Arce, first Deaf magna cum laude from CSB-SDEAS who also joined us to give a short and inspiring talk before the show. According to those who came, their friends could not come for the following reasons: due to schedule [sked was after 7 pm and held during a weekday]; accessibility or distance [Taguig is not in the city center; many Deaf live in Manila or Quezon City]; many have already seen SO in the many showings held at College of St. Benilde; documentary genre is not as preferred as narrative film feature, and, unfortunately, hearing audience, other than those in the family with Deaf are not ready to enter an “unknown territory.”

Nonetheless, the CineManila showing was a success and a big triumph for the Deaf community, considering the fact that finally, and for the first time in Philippine Cinema history, a Deaf Cinema program has been put up by an international film festival here to highlight Deaf presence in cinema.  For once, Deaf as lead characters or subjects in films got attention. Kudos to Dinig, Puntod and River of Dreams! I heard recently that more films with Deaf characters are on the grind…or about to grind. To those who will follow our trail: present Deaf people as real, not cardboard characters or laughing stock. Truly enter their world, and you’ll find many wonderful people.


Tinig ng Senyas

August 29, 2009

“TINIG NG SENYAS: pagbubuklod tungo sa pagpapanday ng isang makabuluhang pambansang patakaran sa wikang senyas” ay isang pulong na ginanap sa Pulungang C.M.Recto, Bulwagang Rizal (dating UP Faculty Center) noong Miyerkoles, ika-26 ng Agosto mula 1:00-5:00 nang hapon. Si Dr. Zosimo E. Lee, Dekano ng Kolehiyo ng Agham Panlipunan at Pilosopiya, UP-Diliman ang nagbigay ng pambungad na pananalita. Nang makita ko siya, inisip ko kung saan ko siya unang nakita. Matatapos na ang pulong nang maalala ko na kaya pala pamilyar si Dr. Lee ay dahil dumalaw siya noong 2004 sa burol ng aking kapatid na si Dr. Isagani R. Medina sa Our Lady of Sorrows sa kalye F.B. Harrison. Doon ko siya unang nakita at nakausap. Bilang Emeritus Professor sa Departamento ng Kasaysayan, kabilang si IRM sa kanilang kolehiyo.

Tinalakay sa pulong ang kasalukuyang problema ng mga Bingi sa Pilipinas na sumentro sa “pagpapanday ng isang makabuluhang patakaran sa wikang senyas,” bunga sa hindi pagkilala sa Filipino Sign Language (FSL) ng DepEd bilang pambansang wika at epektibong tulay ng komunikasyon ng mga Bingi at ang patuloy na paggamit ng Signing Exact English (SEE). Sinabi ni Dr. Therese Bustos ng UP Special Education Area na ang problema sa pagtuturo ay nasa level ng elementarya at mataas na paaralan dahil sa tertiary level ang mga importanteng institusyon ay gumagamit ng FSL bilang pagkilala sa importansya nito bilang identitad o pagkikilanlan ng mga Binging Pilipino.

Pulungang C.M.Recto, Bulwagang Rizal (dating UP Faculty Center)

Si Marites Racquel “Rack” Estiller-Corpuz na unang nagsalita ay nagpaliwanag kung bakit ang “Wikang senyas ay Yaman ng Pilipinas.” Tinalakay niya ang kasaysayan ng FSL na nagsimula pa noong panahon ng mga Kastila. Nagbigay rin sya ng mga halimbawa at nagkumpara sa kaibahan ng mga bago at lumang senyas. Naipakita nya ang kagandahan ng wikang senyas na katutubo. At sa huli ang pagkilala na dapat iukol sa FSL bilang wikang senyas ng mga Pilipino.

Si Dr. Liza B. Martinez, Direktor ng Philippine Deaf Resource Center, ang nagbigay ng pangalawang pananalita na pinamagatang “2009 SONA ng wikang senyas” habang si Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel ng AKBAYAN Party List na nahuli sa pagdating dahil sa ibang commitment ay nagsalita rin at nagbigay pag-asa tungo sa pagpapatupad ng mga mithiin ng mga Bingi. (Ang bahagi ng kanyang mga sinabi ay i-a-upload ko sa Youtube kapag naconvert na).

Ang interes sa pag-aaral ng FSL ay lumalago. Ako, bilang dating mag-aaral ng FSL ay tunay na natutuwa para sa mga Bingi na dumarami na sa mga nakakarinig ang gustong mag-aral nito. Ito ay sa dahilang napakaganda at nakapa interesante ng wikang senyas bilang daan para makipag-usap sa kanila. Masaya kasi silang kasama at maraming mga mababait sa kanila. Wala silang ipinagkaiba sa atin kundi ang pagkabingi nila. Tayo lang mga nakakarinig ang gumagawa ng linya sa pagitan natin sa paniniwalang pagsasayang lang ang mag ukol ng oras para matuto ng kanilang wika para makipag usap sa kanila. Ngunit kapag lumaganap na ang pananaw na ang wikang senyas ay tulad din ng mga banyagang wika, na ang mga Bingi ay isang “linguistic-minority group” ang respetong dapat mapasakanila ay maibibigay na. Unti-unting tataas ang pagtingin sa kanila hanggang maging pantay na ito sa mga taong karamihan sa atin ay may palagay na ang mga Bingi ay may kapansanan.

Mabuhay ang Deaf Filipinos!


Dinig Sana Kita in Cinemalaya 2009

July 27, 2009

Romalito Mallari, student of DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS) where I studied Filipino Sign Language (FSL) starred in “Dinig Sana Kita,” by Mike Sandejas. Said to be a festival stand out by Nestor Torre, it was the only film I managed to view. That was last Saturday, July 25. I saw familiar faces: CJ Patriarca, Bronson and Myra Medrana. All four can also be seen in SO in their performances as members of Silent Steps and Dulaang Tahimik. I was happy to meet again after so many months, staunch Deaf advocate Dr. Liza Martinez. Dr. Therese Bustos, Dean Techie dela Torre, Liw Caldito, Febe Sevilla (Hey! salamat sa ticket!), the whole SDEAS staff and students seemed to be all present. It was more for me like a reunion. And a happy one!

I just hope and wish that the Deaf would be encourage to really do their own thing, continue to explore and show their own world in their own films. Calling on Myra Medrana to do this! I have high hopes for Myra. She can do it and when she does, her films will be more powerful than what any hearing people like us can do. Myra is the first Deaf to make a feature-length film narrative movie with both Deaf and hearing persons (“Empathy”). Mike is the first hearing person to make a feature film narrative starring a Deaf person. Silent Odyssey is the first feature-length documentary on Deaf Filipinos made by a hearing person.

Last year, after the preview of SO to the Deaf community, Myra suggested a proposal for us — Myra, Dennis and I to make an advocacy film narrative together. I hope that comes true because as I move around with SO something always gets sparked within them, in their hearts most probably as what even Deaf in India who saw it experienced. After my last week’s showing in Samar, Brother Nilo, head of Tacloban Christian Deaf Association who saw the film,  intends to organize a similar showing in Leyte.

Anyway, congrats to all the members of the production staff of Dinig Sana Kita! Here is the complete list of the recently concluded Cinemalaya 2009 winners:

Best Film: “Last Supper No. 3”
Special Jury Award: “Colorum” and “Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe” (tie)
NETPAC Award: “Baseco Bakal Boys”
National Council for Children’s Television Award: “Dinig Sana Kita”
Audience Choice (Full Length): “Dinig Sana Kita”
Best Director: GB Sampedro (“Astig”)
Best Actress: Ina Feleo (“Sanglaan”)
Best Actor: Lou Veloso (“Colorum”)
Best Supporting Actress: Tessie Tomas (“Sanglaan”)
Best Supporting Actor: Arnold Reyes (“Astig”)
Best Screenplay: “Nerseri”
Best Cinematography: “24K”
Best Production Design: “Mangatyanan”
Best Editing: “Astig”
Best Musical Score: “Dinig Sana Kita”
Best Sound Recording: “Astig”
Best Short Film: “Bonsai”
Special Jury Award: “Blogog”
Audience Choice (Shorts): “Tatang”
Best Director (Shorts): Dexter B. Cayanes (“Musa”)
Best Screenplay (Shorts): “Behind Closed Doors”